YSPH Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity (CAPI)

Guiding Principles

Honesty, professional integrity, and a commitment to the health of the public provide strong foundations for our educational mission at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). We create a community of scholarship through the free and lively exchange of ideas in the classrooms, laboratories, clinics, organizations, and neighborhoods in which we serve. We promote scientific rigor, courage, and compassion to guide us in the work we do—designed to prevent disease and promote health.

The YSPH Code of Academic and Professional Integrity is intended to foster our School’s exceptional learning environment and to support conduct that will distinguish our faculty, students, and staff in our lives at YSPH, the University, New Haven, and the broader scientific, policy, and public health communities in which we live and work.

Academic Integrity

The Yale School of Public Health community, including faculty, students, and staff, supports the highest standards of academic integrity. All academic work—completed individually or in small groups, in the classroom, laboratory, or community—affords an unparalleled opportunity to put forth new and innovative ideas to promote the science and practice of public health.

Faculty will provide clear guidelines for students on the parameters of all course work, including homework assignments, papers, and examinations. Students must contact the professor for clarification if there is any question about these guidelines. Students must complete their work independently or in small groups, as per instruction, always striving to put forth their own best ideas to accomplish their goals. Students are strongly encouraged to build on a strong tradition of public health by utilizing the many excellent print and online resources available to stimulate thinking and promote innovation. In so doing, students must also consult guidelines to insure proper citation of published work.

Community Standards and Freedom of Expression

The YSPH community is inclusive in nature, respecting the diverse backgrounds and views of all its members. Faculty, students, and staff must aspire to standards of conduct that further distinguish the School as a center of professional and personal integrity. We must adhere to ethical guidelines and the highest standards of professional and personal behavior. We abide by the principles of the Human Relations Code of Conduct, Yale School of Medicine:

Yale School of Medicine is committed to the promotion of personal and professional development of all individuals in its community, and encourages dialogue that will foster the growth, well-being, and dignity of all its members. In pursuit of these goals, the School is dedicated to maintaining an environment which places the highest priority on collegial relationships, mutual respect, and sensitivity among students, faculty, staff, and patients. An educational community functions best when there is civility and respect for the dignity and worth of each individual.

It must be ensured that our School is free from discrimination and acts of intolerance such as those based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, or physical handicap. This commitment remains consonant with the obligation to protect open and wide-ranging public discourse. The principle of freedom of expression that might otherwise protect even the most offensive public speech does not protect, nor does it even encompass, a right to threaten the dignity and privacy of an individual. Such personally directed behavior will not be tolerated; it is antithetical to academic values, debilitates its victims, compromises the offenders, and undermines the University’s fundamental commitment to individual freedom and respect for all its members. Furthermore acts of intolerance may destroy the very atmosphere wherein freedom of expression is otherwise tolerated and cherished.

In its commitment to the protection of free inquiry and expression in the classroom and throughout the school community, YSPH also reflects Yale University’s commitment to and policy on freedom of expression as eloquently stated in the Woodward Report (Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale, 1974). See http://studentlife.yale.edu/guidance-regarding-free-expression-and-peaceable-assembly-students-yale.

Code of Academic and Professional Integrity

Honor Code

The Honor Code explicates the highest ethical standards to which we must hold ourselves, our peers, and our colleagues. Honesty, respect, and trust are hallmarks of the science and practice of public health. They must be nurtured at all times in our classrooms and in our work beyond the classroom. Upon arrival at YSPH, all students will sign an Honor Code that states:

By enrolling in the Yale M.P.H. program, I am accepting the responsibility to promote and uphold the Code of Academic and Professional Integrity.

I understand that the work I submit must represent my own efforts; that I will conduct myself with dignity, integrity, and honesty in my studies; that I will uphold the directions of my faculty and complete all my work in the spirit it was assigned. I understand I must honestly represent my credentials, abilities, and situation as I further my career as a public health professional.

I agree to be held accountable for maintaining the atmosphere of honesty and professionalism at Yale University and within the greater academic community. In the spirit of my professional development—where I should not tolerate misconduct in my professional setting—I also agree to contact the appropriate faculty member, or the associate dean for student affairs, if I witness a violation of this Code of Academic and Professional Integrity by any of my peers.

Upon completion of all written assignments and examinations, students will sign the following statement:

I have not given, received, or witnessed inappropriate exchange of information on this assignment, and I certify that this is my own original work.

Behaviors Subject to Disciplinary Action

Students at YSPH freely associate themselves with the University, and in doing so affirm their commitment to the University’s principles of honesty and academic integrity. They are expected to abide by all University regulations, as well as local, state, and federal laws. The forms of behavior subject to disciplinary action include, but are not limited to:

  1. Cheating and plagiarism Plagiarism and cheating are understood to include all forms of misrepresentation in academic and professional work, such as:
    1. Failure to acknowledge ideas and phrases used in an essay or assignment that were gained from another writer, including the Internet. Any direct quotation must be specifically attributed, and any other reliance on a reference must be acknowledged.
    2. Cheating on examinations, problem sets, and any other form of assignment or test.
    3. Falsification and/or fabrication of data, or misrepresentation in any report on research or other work.
    4. Submission of the same paper in more than one course or as a thesis, unless explicit permission from the instructors has been obtained in advance.
    5. Use of prepared notes in an examination or communicating with another person during an examination (including take-home examinations) unless specifically authorized by the instructor.
    6. Use of electronic files belonging to another person, or electronically sharing files when this is specifically prohibited by the instructor.
  2. Misrepresentation or lying
    1. Misrepresentation or lying in applications for admission or financial aid.
    2. Misrepresentation or lying during a formal or informal inquiry by School or University officials. If the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity has found that the student purposefully misled the committee during its deliberations, the committee may consider that factor as grounds for imposing a more severe penalty.
  3. Assault, coercion, harassment Assault on, or coercion, harassment, or intimidation of any member of the University community for any reason, including harassment on the basis of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation; sexual harassment; or use of a teaching position to harass or intimidate another student.
  4. Violation of Yale University rules/functions
    1. Disruption of a legitimate function or activity of the University community, including disruption of classes and meetings, blocking entrances and exits to University buildings, unauthorized occupation of any space on the Yale campus, or preventing the free expression or dissemination of ideas.
    2. Unauthorized or fraudulent use of University services, equipment, or facilities, such as computer equipment, telephones, or letterhead.
    3. Misuse, alteration, or fabrication of University credentials or documents, such as an identification card, academic transcript, or grade list.
    4. Violation of University rules for using information technology services and facilities, including computers, the University network, and electronic mail.
    5. Violation of University rules regarding intellectual property.
    6. Misuse or unauthorized removal of materials in University libraries or laboratories.
    7. Trespassing on University property to which access is prohibited.
    8. Theft, misuse of funds, or willful damage to University property.
    9. Refusal to comply with the direction of University Police Officers or other University officials, including members of faculty, acting in the performance of their duties.
    10. Interference with the proper operation of safety or security devices, including fire alarms, electronic gates, or sprinkler systems.
  5. Illegal activity Any behavior prohibited by law may be subject to criminal prosecution as well as to a charge by the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity.
    1. Illegal behaviors directed against the University or the University community.
    2. Possession or use of explosives or weapons on University property.
    3. Unlawful manufacture, possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol on University property or as part of any University activity.

Disciplinary Policies and Procedures

Committee Composition and Charge

The Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity considers instances of academic infractions and other serious violations by YSPH students against the School and University communities. The committee is appointed by the dean and consists of a faculty member from each YSPH department, the director of academic affairs, and three students from each M.P.H. class. The dean will designate one of the faculty members as the committee chair. When members of the committee have become familiar with the details of a specific complaint, the chair will determine if any members shall be excused because of a conflict of interest.


The committee will collect the facts relevant to each complaint under consideration, make judgments on whether an infraction or violation has been committed, and determine a penalty where appropriate. Although deviations may be taken by the chair when appropriate to a given case, the following steps are customary:

  1. The work of the committee normally begins when a member of the YSPH community (faculty, student, or staff) brings a possible violation or infraction to the attention of the committee chair or the director of academic affairs. The chair then requests a written statement and copies of any other materials relevant to the complaint. Based on these materials the chair, in consultation with the director of academic affairs, will decide whether the offense, if the charge is true, is of sufficient severity to bring to the attention of the committee. If so, the director of academic affairs will notify the student who is the subject of the complaint in writing, and provide the student with a list of the committee members and a copy of these procedures. The student has the right to: (a) appear before the committee; (b) examine all written materials being provided to the committee; (c) ask for the recusal of any member of the committee for cause; (d) be accompanied by a member of the YSPH community who will act as an adviser. In the YSPH Disciplinary Process the student’s adviser is not an advocate, but rather a source of support to the student. The adviser may help the student prepare for the meeting of the committee and may accompany the student to the meeting. During the meeting the adviser may quietly suggest questions or issues for the student to raise with the committee, but the adviser does not participate directly in the meeting. An adviser is optional. If so desired, a student may select a member of the YSPH community and ask that individual to act as an adviser; an adviser is not appointed by the committee.
  2. The student must respond in writing to the charge of misconduct within three days of receiving notification from the director of academic affairs. The written response should be a statement of reasonable length which comments on the facts of the allegations of misconduct, the student’s involvement in it, and any other matters that the student deems relevant.
  3. The committee will endeavor to conduct its business in such a way as to protect the privacy and personal integrity of all individuals who are involved with the case. In addition, the committee will seek to make its judgments as promptly as is consistent with the need to establish the facts of the case and to come to judgments based on those facts.
  4. The hearing will normally take place in a single continuous session, but the chair may call additional sessions if appropriate. The chair will open the meeting by reviewing the charges against the student and the procedures to be followed. The student may make a brief opening statement. The committee will then direct questions to the student as to the facts of the case, and it is the student’s duty to respond truthfully. After responding to the committee’s questions, the student may make a brief closing statement.
  5. The chair may call additional witnesses as appropriate, including the individual(s) who reported the possible violation. The student may ask the committee to call witnesses who can present relevant information about the facts of the case.
  6. All committee deliberations will be conducted without the presence of the student or any other person who is not a member of the committee. The committee will consider only evidence that has been presented to it at the hearing. If the committee concludes that an infraction or violation has occurred, it will then recommend an appropriate penalty. The committee’s decision on the penalty will be by majority vote, except that any recommendation to suspend or expel a student must be by a two-thirds vote of the committee. Penalties will be set based upon the severity of the infraction and not influenced by the student’s personal situation. Any serious infraction of the Code of Academic and Professional Integrity may be grounds for dismissal.
  7. At the conclusion of its hearing and deliberations, the committee will prepare a report for the YSPH dean which describes the charge of misconduct, summarizes the hearing, presents the factual findings, and outlines the committee’s conclusions, including any proposed penalty. The dean will determine whether the committee’s conclusion is supported by the evidence. If the dean determines that the conclusion is not supported by the evidence, the dean will remand the decision for further fact finding or deliberation. The dean will also review the proposed penalty and may approve or change it if the dean believes that a lesser or greater penalty is warranted.
  8. Unless remanded by the dean for further review, the finding of an infraction or violation is final, as is the penalty upon the dean’s concurrence. The dean will inform the student in writing of the result of the hearing and any penalty as soon as possible.
  9. All proceedings of the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity are confidential. Proceedings and the final determination are shared only with members of the committee, the dean, the student who is the subject of the disciplinary proceeding, and, upon the finding of a violation, the student’s faculty adviser as well as the director of graduate studies. Students found in violation of the Honor Code or the Code of Academic and Professional Integrity will not be permitted to serve as Teaching Fellows.


The following penalties are among those that may be recommended by the committee and imposed by the dean. Any violation of the Honor Code or the Code of Academic and Professional Integrity will result in a penalty, up to and including expulsion. The Yale School of Public Health regards cheating and plagiarism as grievous offenses that strike at the heart of academic integrity, for which the standard penalty will be two terms of suspension.

  1. Reprimand A written statement of censure will remain in the student’s file until the student graduates or withdraws.
  2. Restriction Denial of the use of certain University facilities or of the right to participate in certain activities or to exercise certain privileges.
  3. Disciplinary Probation The student is in official jeopardy. The commission of a second offense while on probation will normally result in suspension or expulsion. Disciplinary probation will be recorded on the student’s transcript.
  4. Disciplinary Probation plus Failure of Course The student is in official jeopardy, and the student’s actions warrant a failure of the course in question. The commission of a second offense while on probation will normally result in suspension or expulsion. Disciplinary probation, and the course failure, will be recorded on the student’s transcript.
  5. Suspension plus Failure of Course (for academic violations) Separation from the University for a stated period of time. A suspended student forfeits all privileges of enrollment including residence, attendance at classes, participation in organized extracurricular activities, and use of University facilities. This penalty, and course failure (if applicable), will be recorded on the student’s transcript.
  6. Expulsion plus Failure of Course (for academic violations) Permanent separation from the University. This penalty, and course failure (if applicable), will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

All cases referred to the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity will be addressed, and a decision made by the committee, regardless of whether the student voluntarily withdraws from the Yale School of Public Health prior to resolution. It will be noted on the student’s transcript that the student withdrew with disciplinary charges pending. Students at the Yale School of Public Health on an F1 Student Visa who are suspended or expelled will be subject to the requirements of the F1 Student Visa program administered by the U.S. Government. Such students should consult with the Yale Office of International Students and Scholars to understand the current requirements.

Appeal Process

A student upon whom a disciplinary penalty has been imposed by the dean of Public Health will have the right to appeal this decision to the dean of the School of Medicine on the following two grounds: (1) that the committee made procedural errors in its deliberations; or (2) that substantial new information is available that was not previously available to the committee. A written notice of appeal must be submitted to the dean of the School of Medicine within five business days after the decision of the committee and the dean of Public Health has been received. The procedures by which such an appeal will be considered and decided will be determined by the dean of the School of Medicine. There will normally be no stay of any disciplinary penalty imposed by the dean of Public Health during the appeal process.

In Conclusion

We set forth this Yale School of Public Health Code of Academic and Professional Integrity to provide guidance and support for professional standards expected from all members of our community. Violations of this code will be taken very seriously, and penalties will be issued to uphold these standards. More importantly, however, is the commitment by faculty, students, and staff to promote excellence in education, research, and service. By upholding academic honesty and integrity, we have a stable foundation from which to move forward in our work to enrich science and improve the health of the public.

Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity 2005–2006; updated May 2010, July 2012, May 2015, June 2019, February 2023